Whether you’re on a deadline and just hit a brick wall or have been scrabbling for a few extra minutes for weeks and FINALLY have it only to find you can’t think straight, writer’s block is a pain in the butt.
Having written a few million words in the last 6 years on pretty much anything you can think of, I have developed a few tricks to get around writer’s block when it strikes hardest.
Here are 7 of my favorites:
- Change the Venue – I have three work spots. My office is only one of them. If I’m standing at my desk and the cursor blinks one too many times, I’ll pack up and head to the basement. If that doesn’t cut it, I hop in the car (or on my bike if it’s not January) and head to a coffee shop. You don’t always need inspiration. Sometimes the jolt of moving camp will jump start those sluggish neurons.
- Write Something – But, you’re saying, I have WRITER’S BLOCK! First, don’t yell, I have sensitive ears. Second, ignore it. Write anything. Write a garbled, messy version of whatever you’re working on, or change the subject and whip up something about which you feel passionate for your blog. Sometimes 15 minutes of slop will coax your brain into gear. Other times, you’ll get an idea and change directions. Either way, get some words on the screen.
- Read a Book – Most of the time, the “keep writing until it works” method doesn’t work. At least not the way you want it to. So, these other five involve getting away from the keyboard. To start, read a book. Research materials, a business book, a novel in your genre – whatever you think will spark some creativity.
- Play with Your Kids/Dog/Cat/Wii – Have fun! Some of your most creative thought-splosions will occur when playing a game of tag with your kids, bowling on your Wii or throwing yarn at the cat.
- Do Something Mindless – Ever wonder why your best ideas pop into your head when you’re driving or showering? It’s a real thing. Distract your conscious mind with a deeply subconscious activity and you free up the heavy machinery to work on bigger problems. So, weed the garden, go for a run, make dinner – do something less intense and let your brain do what it does best.
- Make a Video – Stop writing and start talking. You don’t have to post it. You don’t even need to save it. But the act of SAYING what you can’t type often dislodges the dam holding back your best ideas.
- Quit Working – You may not want to hear it, but sometimes the best way to break through writer’s block is to stop trying. Take a long break, be done for the day and relax. Come back at it later when fully rested.
Keep in mind this is in no particular order. Writer’s block hits for a number of reasons – one day I might be worn out, the next simply unable to focus. Different reasons call for different solutions, so pick one that works for YOU.
The bottom line is that writer’s block, when it really sets in, can cost you money and give you a raging stress headache.
Don’t let it.
Be creative, fight through the fog and do SOMETHING with your time – even if it’s not work related, that surge of endorphins from getting it DONE will often get you over the hump and back into the groove.